Can Subsidence Be Fixed? (Answered)

Can Subsidence Be Fixed?

Can Subsidence Be Fixed?

Yes, subsidence can be fixed.

Subsidence can be caused by a variety of factors, and the first step is to determine the cause. Does an underground water leak or old foundations cause the problem? It can help you determine the amount of work required to fix the problem and how much it will cost.

In order to measure subsidence, surveyors weigh certain parts of the house and measure the pressure that causes cracks in the walls or floors. They’ll also look at how far the walls are from each other and if cracks appear on both sides. As a result, you should know how, what, and how much it will cost to fix subsidence.

What Is Subsidence?

Subsidence refers to the shifting or settling of the ground. Subsidence can be slow or quick. It can be caused by natural processes such as weathering and erosion. The subsidence process can also be triggered by human actions such as digging for groundwater, raising the water table, building, and filling operations.

Slow subsidence occurs over many years or decades as the soil is compacted by natural processes, such as organic matter decomposition and clay shrinkage. Generally, slow subsidence occurs at a prolonged rate, often measured in millimetres per year.

Rapid subsidence, on the other hand, occurs when human activity causes an abrupt drop in the ground’s surface level. Sinkholes and collapses are examples of rapid subsidence. Cavities are formed beneath the surface layer of soil or rock when water erosion or chemical reactions occur in the bedrock. The collapse of the surface causes a hole or dip in the ground above it, such as a cave-in.

How Do You Know If Your Home Has Subsidence?

If you suspect your home is subsiding, keep an eye out for these signs.

First, check the walls and floors. Make sure your home has no cracks in its walls, floors, windows and doors. It is worthwhile to have an inspection done by a professional if you notice any of these cracks.

Second, if you see a sunken area in your driveway or yard, this can signify subsidence. An excellent way to tell if subsidence is happening is by measuring the depth of that area over time. Subsidence may be indicated by an increase in depth.

Finally, keep an eye out for alterations in the amount of water that drains from your land over time. It may signify that subsidence is taking place on your property if you observe water draining into the surrounding soil or water tables below ground level more slowly than usual.

How Can I Prevent Subsidence?

Can Subsidence Be Fixed?
Photo Credit: Humphrey Bolton

A house sinking

There are some things you can do to prevent further damage if your home sinks due to groundwater movement or soil erosion:

  • Repair cracks in walls and floors as soon as possible. You can reinforce the foundation and walls with concrete, bricks, or stones. You may be able to prevent further damage to the house by doing this.
  • Replace the water source causing the problem with a dry well system to prevent water from seeping into the ground beneath your home. Ensure rainwater is kept away from the foundation with a sump pump, and check the sump pit’s water level periodically.
  • Consider moving away if your property has been damaged by subsidence in the past.
  • Inspect your property for more signs of settlement, such as cracks in sidewalks, foundations or driveways. Consult a structural engineer right away if you see these signs so that you can take action before the problem gets worse.

Is It Costly to Fix Subsidence?

The costs of fixing subsidence can vary depending on the circumstances. But, it’s an extensive job that you should only attempt if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you risk worsening the problem, which could be very costly in the long run.

Since subsidence involves an earth movement rather than a failure of the building, home insurance usually doesn’t cover it. Therefore, if you want to get an idea of how much it will cost to fix subsidence at your property, here are some things to keep in mind:

The Extent of the Damage

Photo Credit: Ian S.

The severity of the subsidence determines the cost. It will take much more time and effort to fix a completely collapsed ground beneath your home than a minor crack in your driveway.

Underpinning may be necessary to fix a collapsed ground. In underpinning, steel beams are added under the foundation of your house or building. Underpinning costs can range from £5,000-£50,000, depending on the size and location of your home.


The Type of Structure Affected

When your house is damaged by subsidence, you may have to hire a professional such as a builder or engineer to make structural repairs. It will be necessary to remove trees before permanent repairs can be made.

It is usually possible to fix a sunken garden by yourself, or you can hire a professional to remove trees if only part of your garden has sunken. Depending on the tree size, you should expect to pay a tree surgeon over £120 per hour.

Age of the Building

Because older buildings are constructed with different materials that don’t hold up well over time, they are more prone to subsidence. If old homes have been subject to significant weathering over the years, you can expect your repair costs to be higher than if they were newer or only a few years old.

There may even be a need for pipework, especially when nearby pipes are damaged. Some pipes may have been damaged by water leakage caused by shifting soil due to nearby tree roots or erosion due to floods.

By conducting a CCTV drain survey, it is possible to determine if the problem is caused by leaking pipework. A drain survey can cost up to £160, but it depends on the severity of the problem and the area you live.

How Much Does Subsidence Devalue a Property?

The effects of subsidence vary depending on the severity of the problem, but in some cases, a property will become essentially worthless if subsidence is severe enough. So if you’re dealing with subsidence in your home’s foundation, it’s important to know how much this damage will affect your property’s value.

The way subsidence can significantly impact the value of your home is because it indicates something is wrong with the structure itself. Your potential buyers may refuse to buy since they do not understand what they’re getting into. They’ll have questions about how much maintenance is required on the property to remain stable over time.

How Can I Fix Subsidence?

Identifying the cause of subsidence is the first step toward preventing it. Your foundation could be under pressure due to several factors, including soil shifting due to erosion, weather changes, and geological factors.

Therefore, subsidence can be challenging to fix, but it is not impossible. Fixing subsidence depends on the severity of the problem and your budget.

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